ATHENS, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Seven out of ten nonsmokers in Greece are exposed to secondhand smoke in public spaces, according to a survey by the Hellenic Thoracic Society (HTS) on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day Wednesday.
Although a law against smoking in public places went into effect in 2008, it is not adequately enforced, HTS President Michalis Toumpis noted in a press release, pointing to the negative numbers.
According to Greece's National Statistics Agency ELSTAT, and Eurostat, 72.2 percent of nonsmokers in Greece are exposed to secondhand smoke in restaurants and cafes.
Over 52 percent Greeks are still exposed to secondhand smoke at the working place and one out of two children at home, according to ELSTAT data.
The problem remains, even though smokers are a minority, accounting for 27 percent of Greeks, according to 2014 data.
The number has decreased significantly in recent years due to the economic crisis, according to experts. In particular between youth aged 15-24, the number of smokers dropped by 33 percent from 2009 to 2014, said ELSTAT.
Addressing an event in Athens last week, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that the key to change this behavior was education of younger generations.
"Young people should learn what it means to resist this temptation. This could be their first victory in life," he said.
According to the World Health Organization, smoking is the basic cause of death for 17 percent of Greeks aged more than 30 years. Smoking is also responsible for at least 1,000 heart attacks per year in the country, said the Hellenic Society of Cardiology.